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Ethical Marketing: Four Brands Who Got it Right

a collection of lights on wires over the street

Some Background

Ethical marketing is a way that companies market their products and services by focusing on how their products benefit their customers alongside how they also benefit socially responsible or environmental causes.

 

Ethical marketing is seen as more of a company philosophy than a marketing strategy. It involves everything from making honest and trustworthy adverts to creating a strong and valuable relationship with consumers through instilling shared values. Companies will evaluate their decisions from a business perspective as well as a moral perspective through ethical marketing. Here are four companies that got it right.

Ben and Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's are no strangers to using their products to create a positive impact. Owners Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield established a brand image that redefined business ethics. The way they run and market their business always focuses on helping to solve larger issues in our society, such as them being aware of their company's environmental impact, sustainable sourcing, fair pay and benefits for their employees.

 

For example, Ben and Jerry's have an ice cream flavour called ‘Save our Swirled’, this flavour was bought out to help bring attention to the climate crisis and get people to start taking action. “SOS NOW! This coconutty caramelly creation is a swirled-class flavour you can’t resist & a demand for climate justice you can’t ignore. Because climate justice is as much about people as it is our planet. But a cleaner, greener, fairer future is possible for all.”

 

Ben and Jerry's ice cream
JUST Water bottle in the water

JUST Water

JUST Water is a sustainable water brand ran by Jaden Smith. The brand has a wide focus on social and environmental justice. JUST Water is dedicated to reducing C02 emissions by using responsibly recycled materials and investing in infrastructure, using the profits they make to repair ancient water mains, and helping to redesign the water business model to make it more sustainable and accessible.

 

JUST Water’s marketing success also comes from its commitment to forestry. The paperboard bottles they use are FSC certified and they also offer a wide range of information on their website about their products and what they do.

LUSH Cosmetics

When you think of Lush you probably think of the fragrant bath bombs and the soaps. But Lush are also a very ethical company. Although, the brand does reject the label of being ‘ethical’, ‘eco-friendly or ‘sustainable’ as it believes this should be the norm in the retail space.

 

All of Lush’s products are 100% vegetarian and are animal cruelty free. The brand’s packaging is also recyclable and its stores have a ‘five pot’ recycling initiative where a customer can bring back five of their empty black pots and, in return, they get a free face mask.

 

Lush also makes showcases of its values to consumers through its YouTube channel, where they share various topics from body image to politics.

LUSH cosmeticw Logo
Woman in the snow in a patagonia jacket

Patagonia

Patagonia is a premium outdoor clothing brand that has built itself a reputation for being sustainable and ethical. In the fashion industry a lot of brands like their fashion fast and cheap so that they can keep up with the trends and the season. However, this causes significant negative effects on the environment and has also increased the use of sweatshop labour.

 

The brand, like Ben & Jerry's, is not afraid to speak up and share its beliefs and values with its consumers. Their website includes an ‘Activism’ tab, where consumers can find videos and blog posts on topics such as politics, how to be anti-racist and climate change.

 

One of the most notable ways in which Patagonia has made use of ethical marketing is their campaign, ‘Don’t buy this jacket.’ This campaign was a risky move for the brand, as they were telling consumers not to buy their product. The campaign consisted of a picture of one of their jackets, with reasons why they shouldn't buy the product around it, such as, that it took 36 gallons of water used to make the jacket.

 

The ultimate message of this Patagonia campaign was, ‘Don't buy this jacket if you don’t need it. The goal was to raise awareness of how consumerism negatively impacts our environment. It resulted in not only highlighting the disastrous effects of fast fashion, but the companies sales also increased by 30%.

The Takeaway

Here at Dashing Duck, we are also committed to doing our part when it comes to keeping our company and services ethical. We believe that, in this digital age, the best marketing can be done in an environmentally conscious and sustainable way. This means a greater focus on social media campaigns, website optimization and design, and digital out of home advertising over traditional forms of advertising. And it means that, when we venture into print marketing and billboards, we will always be careful to make sure that our efforts to help our clients do not come at the cost of the environment.

 

For example, although print marketing is dying out, there are still circumstances where it can effectively spread the messages of brands and businesses and help grow their reach. To avoid the environmental cost of print, we at Dashing Duck Marketing take a staunchly green approach: all paper used in print will be recycled and recyclable, and we will only recommend print when it is most suited and will suggest printing in accordance with demand so that waste is kept to a minimum.

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